Congress Okays Relief Bill

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

The U.S. Senate has given the final green light to a $51.8 billion bill that will help victims of Hurricane Katrina. The vote was unanimous, 97-0. The bill now goes to the White House for President Bush's signature.

The congressional action came with unusual speed, as lawmakers approved the money barely a day after the president requested it.

Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott says victims aren't asking for a handout but, "a hand up."

The measure includes $2,000 debit cards so victims can buy essentials.

Earlier, the House approved the measure 410-11.

President Bush has promised to make it "easy and simple as possible" for hurricane victims to collect food stamps and other government benefits.

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